Pitzer College Glass Humanities Lecture to Explore Alain Locke’s Prescience and Perspective with Speaker Jeffrey C. Stewart

Jeffrey C. Stewart

Claremont, Calif. (March 29, 2018)—Jeffrey C. Stewart, author and professor of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will deliver the 2018 Glass Humanities Lecture at 4:15 p.m. on Monday, April 23, at Pitzer College. His talk, “Cosmopolitanism and Culture: Alain Locke’s Vision for 21st Century America,” will draw from his new biography of Alain Locke, the writer, educator and philosopher whose work launched the Harlem Renaissance.

Oxford University Press describes Stewart’s recent book The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke as “the definitive biography of Alain Locke.” The biography culls primary sources and interviews to illuminate the professional and personal life of the man known as the father of the Harlem Renaissance. The result is a “panoramic portrait of one of the great thinkers, teachers and literary entrepreneurs of the early twentieth century,” says author Robin D. G. Kelley.

In the introduction to The New Negro, Stewart writes that Locke used “art, the beautiful and the sublime that nurtured his and his friends’ subjectivities in a world of hate, to subjectivize the Negro, to transform the image of the Negro from a poor relation of the American family to that of the premier creator of American culture.”

Stewart’s other books include Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen and 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About African American History.

Stewart is also an expert on the student-driven social change movements of the ’60s. During his tenure as chair of UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Black Studies, from 2008 to 2016, he launched an international three-day conference, “1968: A Global Year of Student Driven Change,” that brought more than 40 activists, scholars and artists to campus to discuss the activist, critical, aesthetic and educational implications of 1968.

In addition to being an author and professor, Stewart is a curator who served as the director of research at the Smithsonian Institution’s Anacostia Museum, a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and a senior advisor to the Reginald Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture in Baltimore, MD.

Prior to joining the faculty of UC Santa Barbara, Stewart taught at numerous institutions, including Harvard University, Yale University, UCLA, Howard University and Scripps College. He graduated from Yale University, where he also earned his MA, M.Phil and PhD in American Studies.

Pitzer College’s Stephen and Sandra Glass Annual Humanities Lecture showcases leading international figures in the humanities, enriching the cultural life of The Claremont Colleges community. The annual Glass Humanities Lecture, made possible by the support of Nancy Rose Bushnell ’69 and her late husband, David P. Bushnell, is named in honor of John A. McCarthy Professor Emeritus of Classics Stephen L. Glass, one of the Pitzer’s 11 founding faculty members.

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